Three simple stir-fry recipes from The Healthy Cook

All recipes in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook, and taste-tested in the Nutrition Action Test Kitchen.

Have a comment, question, or suggestion? Email Kate at healthycook@cspinet.org.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of these recipes.

The secret to any stir-fry: have all your ingredients ready to go before you heat the oil. Once you start cooking, everything comes together quickly.


Vegetable Fried Rice

Cold leftover rice makes the best fried rice because it’s drier, which means it’s less sticky, than freshly cooked rice. 

The beauty of fried rice is that you can vary the vegetables to suit what’s in your fridge. Try carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, or any type of cabbage.

Want to turn your fried rice into a meal? Just add some fried or scrambled egg or chopped omelet.

Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. oyster sauce or miso paste
1 tsp. + 1 Tbs. sunflower or peanut oil
2 cups chopped snap peas or snow peas, trimmed as needed
3 cups mung bean sprouts
2 cups leftover cold brown rice
3 scallions, sliced

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and 1 Tbs. water.
  2. In a large non-stick pan over high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil until very hot. Stir-fry the snap peas until bright green and charred in spots, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  3. Stir-fry the bean sprouts until hot and starting to soften, about 1 minute. Remove from the pan.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan and heat for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the rice until hot, about 1 minute. Turn off the burner and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over the rice. Toss to combine.
  5. Add the scallions. Return the snap peas and bean sprouts to the pan. Stir to combine.

Per serving (1¼ cups):

  • Calories: 220
  • Total fat: 6 g  
  • Sat fat: 1 g 
  • Carbs: 35 g 
  • Fiber: 4 g  
  • Total sugar: 6 g  
  • Added sugar: 2 g  
  • Protein: 6 g  
  • Sodium: 380 mg

Ginger Sesame Tofu & Snow Peas

Not crazy about cutting the carrots into a cup of matchsticks? Buy pre-cut carrots from the produce section or salad bar.

Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. + 1 Tbs. sunflower or peanut oil
3 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. sherry or 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. molasses or dark brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups snow peas, trimmed as needed
1 cup carrot matchsticks (see Tip, below)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. ½-inch matchsticks ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

  1. Cut the tofu into uniform, bite-sized pieces. Blot dry with towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, grated ginger, and 1 Tbs. oil. In another small bowl, whisk ¼ cup of water with the soy sauce, sherry, molasses, and cornstarch.
  3. In a large non-stick pan over high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil until very hot. Stir-fry the snow peas until bright green and charred in spots, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan. Sauté the tofu until lightly browned on 2 sides, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  5. Stir-fry the garlic-ginger mixture until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Stir in the soy sauce mixture. Simmer until the sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Turn off the burner and return the tofu and snow peas to the pan. Toss with the sauce. Stir in the carrots and sesame oil. Sprinkle with the ginger matchsticks, scallion, and sesame seeds.

Per serving (1½ cups):

  • Calories: 260
  • Total fat: 17 g  
  • Sat fat: 2 g 
  • Carbs: 13 g 
  • Fiber: 4 g  
  • Total sugar: 4 g  
  • Added sugar: 1 g  
  • Protein: 13 g  
  • Sodium: 460 mg

Lemon-Ginger Chicken & Broccoli

For easy slicing, first freeze the chicken breast for 15-20 minutes.

Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. + 1 Tbs. + 1 Tbs. sunflower or peanut oil
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. dark brown sugar
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 scallion, minced
4 cups broccoli spears
¾ cup Easiest Homemade Chicken Stock (see recipe, below)
1½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. ½-inch matchsticks ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, 1 Tbs. oil, 1 Tbs. cornstarch, and sugar. Toss the chicken with the soy sauce mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, grated ginger, minced scallion, and 1 Tbs. oil.
  3. In a large non-stick pan over high heat, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil until very hot. Stir-fry the broccoli until bright green, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  4. Stir-fry the chicken until no longer pink, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  5. Stir-fry the garlic-ginger mixture until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the stock, lemon juice, salt, and 1 tsp. cornstarch. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn off the burner and return the chicken and broccoli to the pan. Toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with the ginger matchsticks and sliced scallion.

Per serving (1½ cups):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total fat: 13 g  
  • Sat fat: 2 g 
  • Carbs: 9 g 
  • Fiber: 2 g  
  • Total sugar: 2 g  
  • Added sugar: 1 g  
  • Protein: 29 g  
  • Sodium: 460 mg

Easiest Homemade Chicken Stock

It’s best to keep this stock as simple as possible, so you can use it in just about any dish. 

Time: 4 hours
Makes 4 cups (1 quart)

Chicken bones and carcass from a roasted or rotisserie chicken
2 quarts water

  1. Combine the chicken bones and carcass and the water in a large pot that’s big enough to fit everything with a few inches to spare. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours, breaking the carcass apart after the first hour.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, return to the pot, and continue to simmer to reduce to 4 cups (1 quart). Let cool, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Tip: Remember to label and date all the items you put in the freezer. 


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